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If you’re a Larimer County home or property owner, chances are you received a note from the Assessors office with information onyour Larimer County Notice of Value.   This NOV is the Larimer County Assessors estimate of value in which your 2013 property taxes will be based.  The notice you receive will be very basic information so that the county can save on printing and postage charges.  You can find more information available in a pdf format at www.larimer.org/assessor.  All the real estate and real property in Larimer County is re-appraised every two years.  Previously, the assessor has used an eighteen month period to compare market data from July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2012.  Steve Miller, the Larimer County Assessor, mentioned that the minimum 18-month period was specified in the early 1980’s because assessor offices then could not process a large amount of volume. On top of that, it was mentioned that an 18 month period is not an accurate data set due to the cyclical and seasonal changes over that period.   “Having a data collection period that includes two winters, two springs, one summer and one fall is hard to justify on analytical grounds” Miller stated. Additionally, although Colorado property tax law allows the assessor to use up to sixty months (5 years) of property data and sales, recent assessments are more heavily weighted to sales occurring within the past two years as markets have been trending upward.

Larimer County Notice of Value – Assessment Summary

Fort Collins: Up 4.5%

Loveland/Berthoud: Up 2.1%

Estes Park: Down 5.2%

Unincorporated Larimer County: Down 11.2% (Includes High Park Fire locations)

Overall Larimer County: Up 1.9%

Ascent tracks regional sales and market statistics to compare against the assessors values.  In the Fort Collins area (Laporte, Timnath and Wellington also included) the average sales price for the two year period ending June 30, 2012 was $247,959 compared to $236,862 for the two year period ending June 30, 2010. This is an increase of 4.7%. Worth noting, these sales figures are only for properties sold through the multiple listing system. The Assessor’s office has the systems, capabilities and access to all property transactions, including building permits for new construction,  for sale by owner transactions, reassessment data from protests and even ‘drive-by appraisals’.  Interestingly enough, that the Assessors 4.5% average increase is nearly identical to the 4.7% increase in the MLS values.

Keep in mind that the assessment varies for any property, neighborhood, subdivision or community.   If you feel the assessment is low, it will keep your property taxes low – a good thing.  Remember this is not an the hard and fast, set-in-stone value of your home.   If you think the value is too high, you have until June 3, 2013 to appeal the value with the Assessors office.  To file an appeal you need to mail a protest or you can send a fax, appear in person or you can go online to www.larimer.org/assessor and complete a protest. As for the research into your appeal, you can deal with comparable sales and market information for the entire five year period ending June 30, 2012. Sales information since July 1, 2012 may not be considered in your appeal, although since values are have been going up, recent information will only re-inforce the higher value.

Whether you feel your value is too high and would like to appeal to save on taxes, or too low and need to understand the fair market value for an upcoming sale, your best bet would be to contact us to provide you with a free, no-obligation market analysis to see where you stand.  We can compare sold comparables, home conditions, improvements and upgrades to give you a more in depth knowledge of your home’s value.  Our professional report is simple and easy to understand and will be the basis of determining list price when you choose us to list your home.

Other than the ‘Notice of Value’ the other two factors that influence your property tax bill are the ‘Assessment Percentage’ and the ‘Mill Levy’. For residential property, the assessment percentage is currently 7.96% of the assessed value and the mill levy for Fort Collins is 90. The property tax calculation on a residential property with an assessed value of $3200,000 would then be:

($320,000 x 7.96) / ($1,000 x .90) = $2,830.22

Remember that the County Assessor is only responsible for assessed values; they are not responsible for taxes and are only charged with spreading the tax burden as fairly as possible. Ascent Real Estate Professionals would like to thank Steve Miller and his staff for the information they have provided and we think you will find his department very helpful with any questions or concerns you may have.

Ascent Real Estate Professionals are committed to bringing you useful information, timely advice and expert service whenever you need it.  Whether it’s Fort Collins, Loveland, Windsor, Greeley or anywhere in between, we’ve got Northern Colorado covered.  Feel free to contact Ascent or subscribe to our newsletters and market reports.  Any questions or inquiries you might have will be responded to in a timely manner.